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What is a Foley catheter induction of labor?

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This is the type of catheter used in a Foley induction.

This is the type of catheter used in a Foley induction.

Photo (c) iStockPhoto
Question: What is a Foley catheter induction of labor?
Answer: The use of a Foley Catheter for labor induction is not as common as it once was. The balloon portion of the Foley, used to keep the bladder empty, is inserted, deflated, into the uterus either by having your practitioner visual the cervix as in a speculum exam or with the fingers, feeling that the balloon is between the amniotic sac and the lower uterine segment (bottom of the uterus). The balloon is then inflated with saline solution and left in place.

Sometimes other methods are used to apply pressure to the catheter. Sometimes this involves weights, like a liter of fluids or even pulling or tugging on the catheter 2-4 times per hour.

The goal of this induction is to cause the cervix to mechanically open. Sometimes this will start labor spontaneously and sometimes it will simply make the cervix more favorable for a Pitocin, other drug induction or amniotomy (breaking the bag of waters).

You may have to have your baby's heart rate monitored before, during and just after the procedure to see if the baby tolerated this process, but this is very unlikely to cause fetal distress because it does not use drugs.

More on the induction of labor.

More Information:

Pitocin Induction | Water Breaking Induction | Other Interventions in Labor

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